Lace knitting can seem a little daunting when you're not familiar with how to approach it. Don't worry, we've got it covered. Knitting expert Freddie Patmore explains the different abbreviations you will come across and how to do what is required in the video below.

The main abbreviation you will come across when knitting lace is ‘yo’. Yo stands for ‘yarn over’, which just means to take your yarn over your needle. The direction in which you do so is dependant on the surrounding stitches and these specific movements will have abbreviations of their own.

Yarn forward (yf or yfwd)

A yarn forward which is usually abbreviated as ‘yf’ or ‘yfwd’ is worked between knit stitches. Bring the yarn forward from between stitches and under the needle, then take the yarn over the top of the right-hand needle ready to knit the next stitch.

Woman's Weekly how to knit a yarn forward in lace knitting

Yarn round needle (yrn)

Either worked between purl stitches or between knit and purl stitches. This needs to be worked with the yarn at the front of your work, so bring yarn to front after a knit stitch.

Take the yarn at the front over the top of the needle, then down and under the needle tip.

Woman's Weekly how to knit a yarn round needle in lace knitting

Yarn over needle (yon)

Worked between purl and knit stitches, take the yarn from the front to back over the top of the needle to knit the next stitch.

All of the above manoeuvres make an extra loop on your right-hand needle that from here onwards is worked and counted as a stitch on your needle. In order to keep the number of stitches on your needle correct, these will ususally be worked in combination with a decrease (like a ‘knit two together’ or ‘k2tog’).

Holes in your knitting, on purpose!

…well that’s really what knitted lace is. Many of the mistakes that are commonly made in our knitting, are simply lace stitches in the wrong place at the wrong time! By placing these loopy bits in particular places in a particular order, you can create some lovely decorative knitted lace stitches.

  • Carol

    If that’s lace knitting I’ve been doing it for years, just didn’t know what it was called. Nothing is new under the sun.

  • Robin Saunter

    Is it possible to get those cute patterns? I enjoy lace knitting!